Last Sunday I attended a Homeless Forum designed to educate faith communities about the complexities of homelessness. Pastors and staff from St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Anchorage have been ministering to and with homeless persons for 20 years. They visit the homeless camps and listen to their stories.
They have a creative and simple ministry that I want to pass on for your consideration. It is called "Helping Hands." People bring in items like granola bars, toothpaste, hair brush, etc. Then a group assembles them in clear plastic bags which are distributed to families in the church. They keep them in their cars and offer them to people asking for help on street corners.
I would ask you to add that you invite your people to look them in the eye and ask them their name. As God's people we can be the body of Christ offering a kindness and a look into their soul to remind them that God knows their name and loves them very much.
Issues of homelessness may be different in each of our Alaskan communities. Some are visible. Others are invisible. But they are there and this is a small action we all can do to break down the walls of fear that keep us from responding to people who have no home.
If you would like to see the power point presentation which Rev. Michael Burke, pastor of St. Mary's, make on Sunday please let me know and I'll try to get it for you.
Grace and peace,